COVID-19: Idaho eases restrictions, health measures | North West
COVID-19: Idaho eases restrictions, health measures |  North West

COVID-19: Idaho eases restrictions, health measures | North West

BOISE – Signs indicate that COVID-19 continues to decline in Idaho, and Treasure Valley mask requirements have been lifted.

Idaho’s positivity rate has fallen to its lowest level since July last year, according to data updated Thursday, showing the rate for the week of February 27th. The new figure was 3.7% and the price has fallen for six weeks in a row, a further indicator that the winter peak from the omicron variant is in sharp decline. Health authorities are aiming for a rate of less than 5% to indicate that a respiratory pandemic is under control.

Since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated COVID-19 guidelines last month, the public health agency no longer suggests that most Idahoans wear masks indoors.

On Thursday, the CDC’s community-level map showed that masks would not be recommended to the public in any part of Idaho except Clearwater County, where recent COVID-19 hospital admissions and case levels put North Idaho County at the “high” risk level.

Ada County is at the “medium” risk level, where people at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19 are advised to talk to a health care provider about whether or not to wear a mask. Canyon County is categorized as “low.”

All Americans are advised to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations and to be tested if they have symptoms of the disease, according to the CDC.

“People can choose to mask at any time,” the CDC notes in its guidelines. Those with a recent exposure, positive test or symptoms should also mask.

Some Idaho physicians say the new CDC guidelines are too lenient and note that they significantly increase the acceptable amount of COVID-19 transmission in a community given other factors. But the changing circumstances and recommendations have been enough for officials to undo precautions in Treasure Valley and in Idaho.

On March 7, Gov. Brad Little announced that on April 15, he would revoke an emergency declaration on public health that has been in place since March 2020, the start of the pandemic. It gave Idaho access to federal emergency funds to pay for a more robust response to the pandemic.

“We hope the recent drop in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths means we are on a downward trend with the pandemic,” Little said in a press release. “For weeks, we have been closely examining the needs of the Idaho health care system in order to complete the public health emergency declaration as soon as possible. The time frame of April 15 provides an important bridge for hospitals and other health care providers to plan the transition.”

Also on March 7, the Boise School District lifted its mask mandate. The city of Boise lifted its mask requirement from the city’s facilities on Friday.

In addition to the positivity rate, Idaho’s 7-day moving average of new cases fell to 778 on Friday, down from over 2,300 at the end of January, according to case data from the Department of Health and Welfare.

Local public health districts still have a backlog of about 3,400 outstanding positive test results, dating from January 10 to February 5.

As of Wednesday, there were 136 patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 admitted to Idaho and 30 COVID-19 patients in intensive care.

In long-term care centers, 24 new cases have been registered in the past week.

As of Friday, Health and Welfare reports that there are 10,534 active coronavirus cases among 172 long-term care facilities. There are 188 facilities with solved outbreaks.

To date, 1,090 people from 226 facilities in Idaho have died of COVID-19-related causes – 14 more than were reported last Friday. Long-term care deaths account for about 23% of the 4,819 in the state.

Vaccine doses administered in Idaho: 2,298,916, according to health and welfare. Of those, 926,286 people have been fully vaccinated, accounting for 54.1% of Idahoans 5 years of age and older.

Test Positivity Rate: Out of the 16,294 COVID-19 tests performed during the week of February 27 – March. 5, 10% came back positive.

For a list of daily figures in Treasure Valley, visit our “What We Know” history.

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